Opera Company of Philadelphia Lays Off Five After Posting Deficit

Classic Arts News   Opera Company of Philadelphia Lays Off Five After Posting Deficit
The Opera Company of Philadelphia finished the season with a deficit of about $400,000 and has laid off five staff members in a bid to save money, a spokesperson confirmed today.

Among the positions that were eliminated was that of Susan S. Ashbaker, director of artistic and music administration and a 16-year veteran of the company. Also laid off were the director of marketing, director of development, and two junior staff members.

The duties of Ashbaker and the other staff members will be distributed to remaining members of the artistic and administrative staff.

According to the spokesperson, the company had previously cut performances from 35 to 24 per year, and the layoffs were intended in part to bring the size of the company in line with its reduced output.

The deficit, the company's first since 1995, was the result of a drop in fundraising and ticket sales, as well as an increase in rent at the Academy of Music, general director Robert B. Driver told the Philadelphia Inquirer. One foundation declined to give the company an expected grant because OCP is in "a period of transition" after the death of executive director John P. Mulroney in December.

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